Laura Rivero Levey files lawsuit to get back on ballot in HD 113

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Laura Rivero Levey, the Republican House District 113 hopeful who was dropped from the race after her qualifying check bounced, is now going to court to get her name back on the ballot.

Republican Party of Florida spokesperson Susan Hepworth confirmed that Levey filed a lawsuit in Tallahassee late Wednesday afternoon.

Levey’s attorney, Richard E. Coates, had sent a letter on July 3 to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, maintaining that Levey was the victim of bank error, something out of the candidate’s control.

SunTrust Bank, where Levey holds her campaign account, had apologized in writing for putting an improper hold on the $2,000 check written June 12 from the Republican Party of Florida. Bank records had shown the check actually cleared on June 16.

The hold caused the return of Levey’s check to the Department of State on June 17 for the $1,781.82 filing fee.

Levey did not learn that her campaign check was dishonored until Tuesday, July 1.

With Levey’s disqualification, Democratic Rep. David Richardson became the unopposed winner in the district representing parts of Miami Beach, downtown Miami, and Little Havana.

“On behalf Ms. Levey,” Coates letter had said, “demand is made that the Department of State accept the tendered cashier’s check and update its records to reflect Ms. Levey as the qualified Republican candidate for House District 113.”

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Richardson remains listed as Unopposed on the Division of Elections website.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.